Page templates in subdirectories, new in WordPress 3.4

In WordPress 3.4, themes can now place page templates inside a subdirectory of their theme.

I’ve spent much of the 3.4 development cycle working on a new API called WP_Theme. But it’s not something you’ll find in the release announcement.

That’s because the vast majority of plugin and theme developers will never use it, nor should they. It’s an under-the-hood enhancement that was aimed at strengthening our internals, and it enabled us to improve quite a bit. For example, we were able to find huge performance improvements in both memory and speed. And it enhances the ability to localize themes. (More on these changes when I start working on the 3.4 field guide.)

It feels nice to be working with a modern, well-written API, even if I’m the only one using it. That’s okay, because look how easy it was to add support for page templates in a subdirectory. This is just the beginning.

Child themes can override these templates the same as before — the child theme will just need to create the same directory structure to do it. (So, /page-templates/one-column.php needs to be overridden with /page-templates/one-column.php, not /one-column.php.) And yes, we’re only looking one level down.

Updated… Caution: Renaming a page template — and that includes moving all of top-level page templates into a directory — will unassign that page template for all pages currently using it. This is a new tool in your toolbox, but use it wisely.

WordPress: So Easy a Congressman Can Do It

The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform launched a new site on WordPress today. This is really cool for a few reasons. Rep. Darrell Issa tweeted about it this morning, saying WordPress is “rare” for government and said it was “to support fast improvements in response to your feedback.”!/DarrellIssa/status/180331770506518528

Government moves at a pace best described as glacially, so for them to recognize that WordPress can help them react quicker, that’s just huge. I’ve learned in D.C. that ease of use and speed of development are very rare things for .gov sites, even those built on open source. Not to mention cost-effectiveness in an age where federal government IT procurement is being upended. Look, they even created cheesy WordPress-in-government infomercial:

The video takes a shot at bad government websites, and while the new site isn’t the prettiest thing in the world, I like the point they’re getting across: Government can excel on the web using the same free publishing software as many of their constituents. It won’t be rare for long.

Related: Ben Balter’s post on WordPress and government from last week is making waves.

Bonus: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently gave their WordPress site a new coat of paint.

What WordPress Post Forking could do to Editorial Workflows

GitHub for Journalism — What WordPress Post Forking could do to Editorial Workflows, by Ben Balter. Ben was a 2011 Google Summer of Code student, where he wrote a really great WordPress plugin called Document Revisions. Now, he’s set his sights on post revisions, forking, and merging. If he goes through with it, it could be a game-changing project.

Donate $100 to Jitterbug and I’ll review your plugin

Jitterbug Bakery: Eat. Drink. Blog. As I work full time on the WordPress project, I don’t do consulting. But! If you donate $100 to Jane’s Jitterbug Kickstarter project, I’ll do a code review and security audit your plugin. You’ll get a few hours of my time — quite the bang for your buck. Limited time offer. :-) Other awesome people, including Pete Mall, Lisa Sabin-Wilson, Aaron Campbell, and Ptah Dunbar, are also fair game.

Avoiding easy

If a feature or product were legitimately easy the user would not be writing in to support about how stuck they are. Sure, some percentage of users will find questions to ask about any interface. But do you want to start the conversation by assuming the user falls into that percentage? You venture to learn much more if you assume the software is wrong, not the user.
— Andrew Spittle, “Avoiding Easy”

This post by Andrew on avoiding the word “easy” in support is golden, but perhaps predictably, this is the part that stood out when I read it. If your user is confused, chances are, the software is wrong. No bugs necessary.

Required reading is what Andrew linked to in this paragraph: Joe Flood’s blog post about a comment Matt Mullenweg made at WordPress DC last summer, “The software is wrong, not the people.”